My research group specifically focuses on understanding and functionally manipulating for therapeutic purposes the interactions between the mucosal immune system and the intestinal microenvironment.
The intestinal compartment is a complex biological system composed by different type of cells (immune cells, epithelial cells, gut microbiota) involved in functional crosstalks aimed at maintaining a balance between tolerance and immunity. These interactions may give rise to different functional outcomes. In healthy conditions immune cells contribute to intestinal homeostasis maintenance, while in genetically predisposed individuals hyperactivation of immune cells may lead to in chronic autoimmune intestinal inflammation. In the context of intestinal tumours, defective activation of immune cells may contribute to decreased immunesurveillance and tumour development.
Specifically, our projects focus at:
- Deciphering the role of conventional and unconventional intestinal CD4+T helper cells in contributing to tissue homeostasis and in participating to inflammatory immune responses;
- Understanding the functions of intestinal T lymphocytes in the control of epithelial neoplastic transformations;
- Dissecting the functional interactions between T cells , the gut microbiota and the intestinal microenvironment during intestinal neoplastic transformation and inflammation
- Manipulating the function of immune cells for therapeutic purposes.
To do so, we take advantage of a translational approach involving in vitro systems, murine models of colorectal cancer and intestinal inflammation, and patients’-derived surgical specimens.
Most Relevant Publications
Short-term Oral Antibiotics Treatment Promotes Inflammatory Activation of Colonic Invariant Natural Killer T and Conventional CD4 T Cells.
Front Med (Lausanne), 2018
J Crohns Colitis, 2018
Therapeutic faecal microbiota transplantation controls intestinal inflammation through IL10 secretion by immune cells.
Nat Commun, 2018